Integration consumes a quarter of new application costs

Skills shortage also draining budgets

A quarter of the cost of rolling out a new application is consumed by integration with existing apps, according to new research.

An annual survey of 105 IT executives in Australia commissioned by InterSystems Corporation, found integration accounts for 26 per cent of the total cost.

The InterSystems Australian Integration Survey also found that 64 per cent of organisations are hampered by insufficient staff resources to cost-effectively connect or extend their applications.

Lack of available skill sets was reported by 45 per cent of respondents and insufficient budget by 42 per cent.

InterSystems Australia managing director, Denis Tebbutt, said it isn't surprising organizations have insufficient staff to integrate new applications, if these 'costs takeup 26 per cent of the budget.

"That is a substantial overhead in developing new applications and a significant drag on business agility," he said.

Tebbutt said increasing staff resources is not the solution as IDC estimates the deficit of skilled high-tech professionals in Australia is expected to reach 7100 by 2009.

"If organisations expect more staff resources to come to their rescue in the midst of a growing IT skills shortage, many will be disappointed," Tebbutt said.

"Realistically, these barriers will only be overcome with new, less labour-intensive and less costly technologies for connecting and extending applications."

The survey found that the most common of these new technologies -- Web services / SOAs, deployed by 52 per cent of organisations surveyed -- has still not replaced traditional, more labour-intensive ways of connecting and extending applications.

Some 39 per cent of organisations were customising applications, 36 per cent re-engineering applications and 35 per cent replacing them.

Interestingly, 66 per cent of organisations were still confident they could quickly and cost effectively make information or processes available through Web Services which is up from 40 per cent last year.

A further 58 per cent could quickly and cost effectively connect or extend applications to enable portals, up from 41 per cent last year.

This year's survey found that organisations are gradually improving their ability to successfully manage projects to connect or extend their strategic applications.

There has been little improvement in the delivery of projects on time, however; the percentage is still hovering around the 50 per cent mark.

An estimated 105 senior IT executives were interviewed in July/August last year. Over 50 per cent represented large organizations with more than 1000 end users. A third were organizations with 200 t0 1000 users with 17 per cent having fewer than 200.

- with Sandra Rossi

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